119 episodes

Revealing, intimate conversations with visionaries and leaders in the arts, science, technology, public service, sports and business. These engaging personal stories are drawn from interviews with the American Academy of Achievement, and offer insights you’ll want to apply to your own life.

What It Takes Academy of Achievement

    • Personal Journals

Revealing, intimate conversations with visionaries and leaders in the arts, science, technology, public service, sports and business. These engaging personal stories are drawn from interviews with the American Academy of Achievement, and offer insights you’ll want to apply to your own life.

    Bill Gates, Sergey Brin and Larry Page: Tech Titans

    Bill Gates, Sergey Brin and Larry Page: Tech Titans

    These three visionaries changed the way we live our daily lives. You'll hear remarkable archival recordings of each, when they were young successful entrepreneurs, but before history had proven the scale of their impact. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, describes how, as a teenager, he first envisioned the potential for computers to become fixtures in our homes. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google, talk about their accidental discovery of the algorithm that would allow us to search and make sense of the new world-wide web's information explosion. And they all talk about taking risks to embrace the future.

    • 49 min
    Vince Gill: Country Music Icon

    Vince Gill: Country Music Icon

    He has won more Grammy Awards than any other male country singer, but Vince Gill never set out to be a star. He just wanted to play guitar and sing, and you can hear his reverence for music in this intimate interview. He describes his first guitar - a Christmas gift from his father, and his early days playing music in Oklahoma. He explains why he's always been happiest collaborating with other musicians, and he shares a wonderful tale about recording with Eric Clapton. He also walks us through the musical components of his first hit song.

    • 51 min
    Andrew Lloyd Webber: Theatrical Impresario

    Andrew Lloyd Webber: Theatrical Impresario

    It’s undisputed: Andrew Lloyd Webber has written more blockbuster musicals than any composer alive. He talks here about falling in love with musical theater in the 1950’s, and about writing his first hit at the age of 19 (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat). He also reveals fascinating behind-the-scenes stories about Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, and Broadway’s longest running show (by far): The Phantom of the Opera.

    • 46 min
    Martine Rothblatt: Transcending Boundaries

    Martine Rothblatt: Transcending Boundaries

    She is a Renaissance Person extraordinaire: a lawyer, an inventor, a biotech innovator, a futurist, a transgender activist, and one of the most successful female CEO's of all time. Martine Rothblatt talks here about founding Sirius/XM radio. She talks about how her daughter's terminal illness led her to develop a treatment, as well as a biotech company to manufacture it (saving thousands of lives so far). She describes her newest missions -- developing an endless supply of transplantable organs, and the electric helicopter technology to deliver them. She explains why she's been able to accomplish such wildly varied things in her life (she's also an amateur musician, pilot & astronomer), and why she refers to herself as transcender rather than transgender. She also lays out her vision for the not-so-distant future, when humans, she says, will be capable of digitizing their consciousness and doubling the capacity of their minds.

    • 48 min
    Ian McEwan: Illuminating the Human Condition

    Ian McEwan: Illuminating the Human Condition

    He is one of the most compelling storytellers of our time... a novelist who addresses broad societal themes while plumbing the depths of intimate human relationships. Ian McEwan, the author of "Atonement," "Amsterdam" and recently, "Machines Like Me," talks here about beautifully constructed sentences. He explains the "pleasure principle" of literature. And in describing how much research it takes to create his characters, he tells a delightful story about the time he was mistaken for a neurosurgeon.

    • 55 min
    Wole Soyinka: The Literary Lion

    Wole Soyinka: The Literary Lion

    Africa's preeminent writer, and one of its greatest advocates for democracy and justice, talks here about the activism that landed him in solitary confinement for two years during Nigeria's civil war. Wole Soyinka was the first African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. He describes here his life growing up under British colonial rule, and explains why his favorite form of literary expression is theater.

    • 51 min

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